TV personality Ray Martin has been charged with investigating Q&A, his task to determine how it selects its audiences, stage-manages questions and assembles panels of guests. There would seem to be plenty of grist for the mill of an open mind in that brief — if, that is, the investigator eschews preconceptions. In this regard, Martin’s thoughts on what direction the ABC should take and how it should package its programming would seem germane.
Below, from his the 2008 Andrew Olle lecture:
I think we’d all agree that the ABC with innovative, serious journalism – obviously backed by management – has had an exceptionally prosperous year. (It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have to worry about advertising cut-backs. Or ‘crushing’ interest debts.) Nevertheless. If you check the ratings, there’s a crystal clear message – if commercial programme chiefs bother to look.
If Tony Jones’ new Q&A program at 9.30pm on Thursday nights, even with politicians on the panel, can beat The Footy Show, well, who knows?
So Q&A is “innovative, serious journalism”, according to the man charged with discerning, er, innovative, serious journalism.
Martin’s full address is available via the link below.